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Chlorine-affected villagers resettled
By SONG WENWEI (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-01 06:28

NANJING: About 10,000 residents affected by Tuesday's liquefied chlorine leakage in East China's Jiangsu Province have been resettled during the clean-up work, local authorities said yesterday.

Chen Cuiying is attended to by her daughter at a local hospital in Huai'an, Jiangsu Province. [newsphoto]
Rescue workers are counteracting the chloride with caustic soda in a pond dug by the roadside. The clean-up is expected to last two days and the area is under a 24-hour surveillance.

The leak, caused by a deadly truck collision in the city of Huai'an, killed 28 people and lead to the hospitalization of 350 others. Seventeen of the injured people are seriously poisoned and three remain in a critical condition, doctors said.

The accident occurred at 6:50 pm on Tuesday, when a tank truck carrying 35 tons of chlorine blew out a tire and rammed into a cargo truck on the Huai'an section of the Beijing-Shanghai expressway. Both vehicles turned over and the cargo truck driver was killed on the spot.

The driver of the tanker, Kang Zhaoyong, who initially fled the scene but later turned himself in, confessed his trailer was designed to carry a 15-ton load.

In fleeing the scene Kang delayed rescue efforts and worsened the situation.

Fumes from the spilt chemicals spread to 11 villages near the expressway.

The leak has also done great damage to the surrounding farmland covering an area of 1,375 hectares, killing many crops, including the ripening wheat, rape and vegetables. Around 15,000 heads of livestock were also poisoned to death.

Vice-Premier Huang Ju has instructed the Jiangsu provincial government to "spare no effort" in their rescue effort.

A team led by Sun Huashan, deputy director of State Administration of Production Safety, arrived in Huai'an in early yesterday morning to demand stricter safety standards after more than 10 rescuers had been poisoned and hospitalized.

Medical workers and chemical experts from Shanghai, Nanjing and other cities have arrived to help with the treatment of the victims and those in critical condition are under around-clock intensive care.

About 500 people took part in the rescue, but unfortunately, in the process, some of them were poisoned and taken to hospital.

Environmental protection workers are working in an area of 5-kilometre-radius, closely monitoring the air and water quality before the villagers are allowed to return home.

(China Daily 04/01/2005 page1)

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